If anyone suggests that someone with learning difficulties can’t act or dance professionally, point them in the direction of Tommy Jessop. When someone of the calibre of Academy Award winner Mark Rylance calls the performance of this young actor “phenomenal”, it’s time to sit up and take note. Tommy’s debut in the BAFTA-nominated primetime drama Coming Down the Mountain (BBC) alongside Nicholas Hoult was astonishing, and he’s gone on to make a mark in everything he’s done for stage and screen since. With star turns as the guest lead in episodes of Casualty and Holby City (both BBC), and memorable roles in Monroe (ITV), Doctors (BBC) and feature film Day of the Flowers (2012) over the past decade, Tommy has helped break down barriers about disability in the screen industries. More recently, he has made cameo appearances in BBC’s BAFTA-winning Line of Duty.
Tommy is also one of the founding members of Blue Apple, a theatre and dance company dedicated to supporting performers with learning difficulties to develop and present high quality productions for the widest possible audiences. Tommy’s turn as Hamlet, the first professional actor with Down Syndrome to play the lead, featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary Growing Up Down’s (BBC).
Tommy received an honourable mention for his lead role in short film Innocence (2019) at the 17th European Film Festival Integration You and Me, Koszalin Poland. In total the film was selected for 23 international festivals, winning awards at the Kraków Film Festival and the London Lift Off Awards. Watch it here.
Showreel (password Tommy)